WATCH OUT: Kate Hofman Interview
SC: I want to welcome you all to another edition of Watch Out. This week I’m excited to bring you a very special guest author. Please give a warm welcome to Kate Hofman.
Welcome to Watch Out, Kate, it is so great to have you here.
KH: It’s great being here, Savannah.
SC: For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.
KH: I was born in the Netherlands, moved to England when I was 18. Moved to Canada in the ‘60s, and married Arnold Hofman, a truly wonderful man. When he died, I moved one more time, to Ontario, to be near my son and grandchildren and great-grands.
I started writing because Nina Bruhns insisted. I shall never forget the first time I sat before a blank Word page….
SC: Can you tell us a little about your current release?
KH: Greek Hottie is my latest eBook. It is the story of Nick, a Greek tycoon, who sells his conglomerate to concentrate on being a writer. His wife dies a day after the birth of their daughter. Nick dotes on the little girl, and refuses any social life except dinners with his close friends. When one of them invites Iris, a famous Broadway actress, for a restful holiday, Nick becomes interested. Unfortunately, Iris is narcissistic, resenting any time Nick spends with his little daughter. A neighbour of his, Nadine, a portrait artist, befriends the lonely little girl, who blossoms under her loving care. Nick realizes that only his libido is involved with the actress, and slowly begins to realize it’s Nadine he loves. How will this end? Happily, one hopes, for Nadine, for Nick and his little daughter…
In July, DCL will publish Reluctant Prince as a print book. Prince Armando owns a chain of upscale hotels in major cities. He is not eager to relinquish his freedom in return for the throne of the principality of Paradiso, liking his life as it is. However, when the ruler of Paradiso dies, this decision is taken out of Armando’s hands. It has become even more complicated because he had met an interior designer with whom he promptly fell in love. As Pamela is swept up in Armando’s passion, she is unaware that she represents an obstacle to Armando’s ascension to the throne. Their relationship is further threatened by one of Armando’s bodyguards, a crashing snob, who resents Pamela as a ‘commoner’ and tries to get her out of his Prince’s life. Armando must choose between love and country, but will he be free to make that choice?
This is one of the most sensual books I’ve ever written. I didn’t set out to do that—the clinches developed naturally out of the story. Well, you’ll be able to see for yourselves when the book comes out.
SC: The publishing industry is constantly changing; do you think that eBooks will one day make paperback books nonexistent?
KH: Not totally nonexistent, no. There are people like the Folio Society, who pride themselves on publishing beautifully printed books. They will always have a place with discerning readers. But with the rapid advent of ever-cheaper hand-held reading devices, it is no surprise that Amazon announced that eBooks have overtaken print books in sales.
SC: What influences the topics, and genres that you pick to write a story in?
KH: Usually, when I’m writing the ending of one book, another idea begins to bug me for attention. At times, this gets so bad that I have to abandon my present book, and write at least a fast synopsis, or on occasion even a few chapters, to see if the idea has merit. Then it is very hard dragging myself by the hairs back to my present book to finish it. I’ve only one genre, really and that is romance. I prefer Mediterranean men, such alpha males, fun to write, and for a woman – oh, not to TAME them, that would be a shame – but to make them want to please her. It also simplifies any church ceremonies, they will be either Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox, and obviates infuriated diatribes from people insisting that their preachers would do it differently…
SC: Being an author in an industry that is very competitive and fast paced how to you manage to try to stand out amongst the crowd?
KH: Savannah, I don’t really think I stand out amongst the crowd! I think people that have come to like my books do so because I write what I know, not very superficial info I Googled quickly. They will also realize that I do my very best for every book, making sure everything is the way I want it to be. That’s all I can do for my books. I do have small ‘cover’ ads at TRS, and they are always kind to me, featuring my books in their TRS Book-a-Day Giveaway. The list of people signing up for the books is usually about 120, except when they had For Love of Lorenzo, with Julian Christian on the cover, nude except for some strategically strewn flowers and pretty leaves. Over 200 names! EVERYbody wanted to know whether he was nude beneath the leaves, and asked me for enlargeable pics of the cover so they could enlarge a predictable area… Julian laughed, he is so mischievous, and said he’d never tell. And sometimes a fellow-writer is very generous and offers me an interview on her site!
SC: Something readers might be surprised to know about you?
KH: I have a Bachelor Fine Art degree, and owned and operated an art gallery for over 12 years. Interior design is my minor. Sometimes I have to hold myself back from too much descriptive detail about rooms, houses, etc.
SC: When you first started out writing, what was the hardest part for you when it came to publishing and the whole industry?
KH: I’ve been singularly lucky. I began to write for myself, as it were, because I was getting tired of the bitches who fought the whole book with their men, shutting up only long enough to have boring sex with them. Particularly every time I read, ‘his body stiffened’, I had this ridiculous image of rigor mortis…
Then the formulaic misunderstanding on p. 73, which a child of 5 could have solved with one simple question. But no, it persists throughout the book and they finally realize it was all a mistake by p. 149… I thought, has women’s lib finally caught up with them? That is ‘50s stuff from the previous century! Let’s have people getting together early in the book and let the difficulties befall them both, and let’s see how they deal with them, grow from the experience.
SC: Your favourite part about being an author?
KH: The writing itself. There is nothing like it in the whole world.
SC: Any interesting writing quirks you might have?
KH: I have been very lucky in that Bill Freda, CJ Hollenbach and Julian Christian have been willing to be the models on my novels. They are all interested in what the book is about, and do their best to provide photos that will enhance the subject. If I wonder how a man would react to this, respond to that, I mention it to them, and they are so kind, they tell me what ‘a guy’ would do. Their responses are always interesting, at times hilarious.
SC: Being published and seeing everything that goes on in the publishing industry would you get into trying to get published if you had the chance to do it all over again?
KH: Oh yes,I would. But as I said, I’ve been singularly lucky. I wrote by myself for 5 years, and had 25 finished novels, with no intention of ever sending any of them to a publisher. Jennifer Mueller, that wonderful writer, had become friends with me, and said, You’re ready. Send something away to be published. I did, and my first book was accepted.
That was a heady moment. Dizzy with this success, I asked Rose Brungard, my friend, whether her publishing site would want to publish a book of mine. She said, Sure. I sent her 5 books, to make a choice. To my intense amazement, she took all 5, and gently explained that it is more usual to send just one book at a time… I said I wanted to give her a choice, and Rose is still laughing about that one. So you see I have really been extraordinarily lucky in publishing. No one has ever sent anything back to me, which is probably just as well. My ego is non-existent, and if I got a rejection I’d never send anything away again… My friends tell me that you have to develop a broad back off which any rejections slide. And that is probably true. You might not appeal to a certain reader at a certain publisher, but if you sent the same book to someone else they might be dancing in the streets to get you.
SC: What do you think sets your stories apart from other authors?
KH: I just write romance, like a lot of people. I enjoy writing about Italian princes, Spanish dukes, Greek tycoons, and I believe readers enjoy the total escape this provides. Living for a few hours in the heady atmosphere of these people’s lives… My ‘Golden’ books – with CJ Hollenbach on the covers – are about blond heroes in the US, men with ordinary jobs who are thrown into extraordinary circumstances. For instance, one blond hero is a landscaper. One of his customers comes out to speak to him and is struck by his exceptional good looks. Just what is needed for an upscale men’s toiletries ad campaign… And our hero is whisked to a Caribbean island for tv ads and shoots (that is when they take still pictures of the model, they don’t shoot him). Cougars pursue him, etc.etc. CJ had a lot of fun advising me on what happens on a movie site, telling me things only a model would have experienced.
SC: As a published author is there a genre you would really want to be known for?
KH: I think of myself as a romance writer, period. Except for one time, a dare from Jennifer Mueller – she said, write a romance set in 1949. And I wrote My Love, Forever. This is my claim to be a historical writer… It was fun, because you have to Google everything. Was there Vichy water in 1949? Yes, their brand Célestins. Did they have the French Open (tennis) then? Yes, except it wasn’t called the French Open, but French Championships. I began to think I should mention Google as my co-writer… . Fortunately, clinches havent changed in thousands of years, or so it would seem…
SC: Is there anything you’re currently working on that you can give us a taste of?
KH: Yes, I have just finished Forbidden Lover. A Caucasian man has been the secret lover of a Chinese young woman, whose father is very traditional, and forbids her to have anything to do with her lover. His best friend, also a woman, is half-Thai, and understands his fascination with the girl, although she foresees only heartbreak for her friend… I was interested in seeing these two women weaving their way into and out of his life.
SC: What is the best advice you ever got with regards to writing?
KH: In 2002, I went to the Romantic Times conference in Reno, Nevada. While waiting for my plane, I got into conversation with a charming and fascinating woman, who told me her name was Thea Devine – the doyenne of erotic romance! Talking to her for an hour was more exciting and informative than attending a 3-week seminar on the subject! She said whenever I was stuck, I should play WHAT IF… I thought, ??? And she explained that you can free your mind from whatever is preventing it from getting on with your story by playing What If. The farther out your ideas for your story range, the better. And soon after you’ve played What If, your own story will start to flow again. This is true!
SC: What is one pet peeve you have when it comes to publishing?
KH: I can’t say that I have one. Except maybe this: I hate being forced to think CHRISTMAS in March or April, in order to have the story ready for the actual Christmas sales which begin in November. I am very conscious of nature’s progression, and find it hard to write about snow when I have the air-conditioner on to combat the heat and humidity. Similarly, writing in January about sunbathing on a Florida beach in May…
SC: Any advice for new writers out there?
KH: I know I will sound like a broken record, but the advice is the same: Write, write, write. And write what you know! Even when you don’t feel like it, write something. Maybe you will throw it out tomorrow, fine, that is your prerogative, but you wrote something and did your best. I remember only too well what it was like, sitting before a blank page on Word, that first time. And tentatively starting to type a working title for the story – Will and Kiki. Largely autobio, because when you begin writing, you are most comfortable writing about actual experiences. Of course, then one has to change the story to make it a true romance, even if the romance didn’t end so well for the writer… (that would be me).
Oh, and another thing: Don’t show your early work to a lot of friends. What do they know? And you are so vulnerable in those early stages, anyone can turn you off your chosen path and you’ll rewrite this, change that. Don’t do it! Write what you, yourself, want to write, show it to no one until you have polished and smoothed the story to the greatest perfection you are capable of. THEN find someone to read it. Be sure she is a literary minded person, who has read the great authors—NOT someone who buys the cheapest romance books. Your literary friend will not apply the great authors’ standards to your work, but she will know whether you are writing fluently, flowingly, and grammatically. Yes, I know that’s a bugbear, but it is worth doing it right. In dialogue, you can divert from that – people don’t always speak grammatically, but in narrative, you better be aware that you can’t come across as semi-literate.
One other point – write what YOU want to write, not what someone tells you is selling well these days. Believe me, when you write ‘for the market’ as it were, you will already have missed ‘the market’. Better to write what you feel and sense, write to the best of your ability. At the very least you can be proud of your efforts—at best, you will be published. If you write what you think will sell, you will end up with cobbled work. You’re better than that. You must believe that.
SC: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
KH: At www.thedarkcastlelords.com and at www.Fictionwise.com You will have to type my name in the Search column. Or look under Browse to Publishers, and find DCL Publications LLC, hit that and then you will see which books are #1 etc. and also which are all-time faves. The same is true for AllRomance eBooks.com. And of course Kindle. Also you can find my book Forbidden Lover at http://www.rahpubs.com
Thank you, Savannah, so very much for interviewing me with such interesting and intelligent questions.
I had a great time and hope your readers won’t be bored.
SC: Kate is a pleasure to have you and I’ sure they will love this interview…You are a fantastic woman…